My name is María de los Ángeles, I am 25 years old and I was born and raised in the department of Aguacatán, in El Salvador. I studied journalism and graduated in 2015. Two years ago, my sister and I had to move to another city to study since the only university in my city did not offer the major we wanted to study, and the public university was 16 kilometres away from where I used to live.
I am currently looking for a job, but it is very difficult to get a job these days in El Salvador. Employers always ask for experience, which because of my young age, I do not have. So far I have done several internships. One of them was a non-paid internship in the Legislative Assembly, which was mandatory in order to get my diploma. I also did an internship at the Institute of Youth of Salvador, INJUVE, for which I was paid half the minimum wage and I had paid holidays, but I did not have social security benefits. During that internship I benefited from training on leadership skills, communication, etc. Thanks to this internship I learnt to manage stress, pressure and I had the opportunity to travel.
My two internships gave me the chance to put into practice what I learned in school. However, it was very difficult because I had to remember everything I had learned. In addition, what you learn in school is very theoretical and there are many things that are not applicable in real life. For example, they should teach students how to look for a job.
I hope to have a better life in the future since my parents have tried hard to give me everything I needed. They have given me an essential tool: “education”. My friends also hope to have a better life because most of them have attended public school (which is now free) which was almost impossible in the past. However, despite recent improvements, young people still face many challenges. For instance, in my home town, the problem of teenage pregnancies is very serious. I have had schoolmates under 15 years old, with young children. It is a very alarming subject. I have also met young people who got married quite young (19 or 20 years old). I think they marry young because in our community access to higher education is limited and it is very hard to find a job, so the only way they have to leave home is to get a spouse. In addition, the community is very traditional and although there are talks in schools or associations, sexual education is a difficult subject to communicate. If I have children someday, I will recommend them to study first and not to skip stages.
Learn more about the work of the Youth Inclusion Project in El Salvador